With the pandemic continuing to rage on, a question I have been asked is whether worker's compensation in Michigan covers people who contracted Covid at the workplace. This is a very interesting and complex question and worthy of consideration.
Generally, worker's compensation does not cover routine community spread illnesses or diseases like a cold or flu due to the difficulty of proving it was directly contracted from the workplace. The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the landscape and many jobs that are not typically considered hazardous have now become very dangerous for the employees as they are being exposed to Covid.
States, including Michigan, are currently trying to enact changes to the rules and laws to extend worker's compensation coverage to first responders, health care workers, and other essential workers who have been impacted by Covid, like correction officers.
In Michigan, several bills are pending before the house and senate to try to expand worker's compensation coverage for essential workers who have been exposed to Covid-19. Senate Bill 906 is pending and would expand worker's comp coverage to first responders, health care workers, and correction officers who contracted Covid. Similarly, House Bill 5758 would expand coverage to all essential workers while House Bill 6040 would expand coverage to all workers who were required by their employer to work outside their home.
However, Senate Bill 1019 would limit the coverage by stating that workers who contract Covid-19 would be ineligible for worker's comp benefits if their employer was in compliance with public health requirements and guidelines.
Accordingly, the issue of whether worker's comp in Michigan covers Covid 19 is still in debate. Please contact your state representative and state senator if these issues are important to you!